Photo of Spuller Lake, Mono County, CA

Spuller Lake - Mono County

Photo of Shell Lake, Mono County, CA

Shell Lake

Spuller Lake is tucked against the crest of the California's Sierra Nevada just east of Yosemite National Park. With a scenic 2.7 mile, one and a half hour hike from the Tioga Pass Road, you can be at the shore of this beautiful lake. While summer crowds gather around the roadside lakes near Yosemite, you will likely be alone fishing the waters of Spuller Lake. Part of the attraction of this fishing excursion was the series of lakes I passed along the way (such as Shell Lake), offering chances for me to dabble in their waters before reaching Spuller Lake.

I always use barbless hooks and catch and release at Spuller Lake.


In My Creel

  • 1/4 oz. nickel Daredevle
  • Rooster Tail
  • 1/8 oz. Mepps Black Fury
  • Mepps Lightin'
  • size 10 hooks and salmon eggs
  • Zebra midge
  • Wooly Buggers

Not knowing what kind of fishing conditions I would encounter along the way and up to Spuller Lake, I took a nice selection of spoons, flies, and spinners with me.



Making Your Way to Spuller Lake

To reach Spuller Lake from Yosemite National Park, follow Highway 120 over Tioga Pass. Just a little more than a mile east of the entrance gate you reach Tioga Lake. Drive past the overlook four tenths of a mile and park in a turnout across from the campground. Approaching Spuller Lake from the east, take Highway 395 just south of Lee Vining turn west on Highway 120 and drive about 11 miles to Tioga Lake. The last time I was there, anglers were having great success at Tioga Lake, but as fast as they could land their fish, marauding bears were stealing their catch. You won't find any bears up at Spuller Lake.

Photo of Bennettville Mine, Mono County, CA

Bennettville Mine Entrance

The trail to Spuller Lake begins across from the overlook and traverses the mountainside to the south. You can save time and effort by parking farther east near the campground and hiking up cross -country to intersect the trail. Carry a map and compass or a GPS to orient yourself. Once you hit the trail it is easy travel. Another alternative, which involves more uphill hiking, is to start near the campground on the Saddlebag Lake road and hike up through the old mining camp of Bennettville.

About a mile from your car you will pass the mine site at Bennettville, a 19th century mining operation. You can see the old cabins below you in the woods. A short distance later you reach Shell Lake and then about a half mile beyond that you come to Fantail Lake. Take the left side of Fantail and follow Mine Creek up to Spuller Lake. It's about a 600 foot climb from your car to Spuller Lake, situated at an elevation of 10,250 feet.

I didn't have time to make the short hike north from Spuller Lake to try fishing at Maul Lake or Green Treble Lake. Maybe next time.

Photo of Fantail Lake, Mono County, CA

Fantail Lake


Accommodations and Supplies

Lodging is available close to Spuller Lake at the nearby Tioga Pass Resort. There is also ample lodging in Lee Vining or south on Highway 395 at June Lake.

There are a number vacation cabin rentals in the area, especially south near Mammoth Lakes. Numerous campgrounds can be found nearby, including at Tioga Lake, Ellery Lake, along the road to Saddlebag Lake, and lower down along Lee Vining Creek. For details about campgrounds in the area and a map of their locations, see out Lee Vining area page.

California's Best Camping logo

To find the very best campgrounds in the area and all across California, visit California's Best Camping.

Spuller Lake falls within the boundaries of the Harvey Monroe Hall Research Natural Area. No fires or overnight camping are allowed within the Research Natural Area.

Fishing supplies can be picked up at Bell's Sporting Goods in Lee Vining or Ernie's Tackle and Ski Shop in June Lake.


Recommended Books for Spuller Lake and Nearby Lakes and Streams




Photo of Spuller Lake, Mono County, CA

Spuller Lake


Nearby Featured Trip in Mono County


  • Conness Lakes - a cluster of alpine lakes at the foot of Mt. Conness
  • Emerald Lake - a short hike from Mammoth Lakes to this Sierra gem
  • Sherwin Lakes - great fishing in beautiful lakes near Mammoth
  • Cooney Lake - an easy walk in from nearby Virginia Lakes.
  • Green Lake - not far from Bridgeport, Green Lake makes an excellent camping destination coupled with rewarding fishing.
  • Fern Lake - a steep hike up from the June Lake Loop, rewarded with a beautiful fly fishing lake